Family in Africa looking at a smartphone.

Sleeping Sickness: Sanofi was at the UN offices in New York

On July 18th, during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York and Sanofi, together with the WHO (World Health Organization), DNDi (Drug for Neglected Diseases Initiative) and MSF (Médecins sans Frontières), organized a side event on elimination of the Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) or “sleeping sickness” at the United Nations’ Head Quarters (New-York City).

HAT is an infectious, usually fatal, parasitic disease transmitted by tsetse fly bites that affects sub-Saharan African countries.

The partners provided different perspectives on the strategy to eliminate the disease, highlighted the importance of public private partnerships and discussed country specific issues and challenges that remain to be addressed. This event is the recognition of the continued efforts of Sanofi and its partners in the field of Neglected Tropical Diseases, already acknowledged last April in Geneva for the celebration of the 5 years of the London declaration and the WHO Global Partners Meeting on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The perspective of eliminating sleeping sickness is the illustration of a successful public private partnership for the elimination of a poverty-related disease.

Ms. Hayet Zeggar, Counsellor for health and social development, Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations.

Through over 15 years of partnership with WHO, Sanofi has supported the fight against one of the most neglected disease. Led by the WHO, continued efforts have paid off – there were less than 3,000 cases of sleeping sickness in 2015, compared with over 40,000 in 2001. We are on track to eliminate sleeping sickness as a public health problem by 2020, and then interrupt transmission by 2030.

Getting to the last patients will be more difficult, so if we want to truly eliminate this disease, we need to develop innovative treatments and ensure sustainable control and surveillance capabilities.

François Bompart, Vice-President Access to Medicines, Sanofi.

In partnership with DNDi, Sanofi is developing Fexinidazole, a new drug that could be the first fully-oral treatment for all stages of sleeping sickness, which would greatly simplify treatment of HAT-infected patients in the field.

the invitation from the permanent Mission of France to the United Nations to participate to this meeting on sleeping sickness highlights the importance of international mobilization to fight this fatal disease. For Sanofi, this is a strong recognition of our long-standing role as a key contributor towards the elimination of this disease.

François Bompart

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